SOMERSET, Wis. — On Monday afternoon, a 52-year-old Minnesota man was charged in the stabbings that happened along the Apple River in Somerset, Wisconsin over the weekend.
Charges filed in St. Croix County against Nicolae Miu, from Prior Lake, include one count of first-degree intentional homicide and four additional counts of attempted first-degree homicide.
The five victims range in age from 17 to 24 and were from Wisconsin and Minnesota. Investigators say that the five victims have sustained stab wounds to their midsections. Two have since been released from the hospital, but one of them died as a result of his injuries.
Authorities said the deceased victim is a 17-year-old boy from Stillwater. A representative from Stillwater High School confirmed Sunday that the victim was a student there.
The St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office says the suspect was tubing along the river with a group when he started stabbing other tubers then took off. It happened near the sunrise bridge in Somerset Saturday afternoon and prompted an hour-and-half long search and evacuation of the river.
According to the criminal complaint, the stabbings happened after a confrontation between Miu and a number of others. The complaint lists multiple videos that have been taken into evidence, which show Miu interacting with the group, who can be heard telling him to go away. The video shows Miu appearing to look for something, but the complaint says some of those on the scene believed he was “looking for little girls,” and accused him of being a child molester.
Video shows that Miu, who investigators say had ample time to leave the confrontation, take a knife from his cargo pocket. According to the complaint, the video shows him being slapped and pushed by some of the gathered people. The video also shows him stabbing at some of them, including one person in yellow swim trunks. Another person is seen on the video with a stab wound on the left side of her torso.
The complaint says that Miu’s knife at one point visibly had blood on it, and that there was enough blood in the water to turn it a red tint in some places.
The complaint also includes details from an interview investigators held with Miu. He claimed that he was fearful for her life, and that he was looking for a cell phone that went missing in the water. He said that the knife actually belonged to one of the other people on the scene. He also said he was sorry how the incident “ended up,” and that his whole life was now “down the tubes.”
In Monday’s hearing, Miu’s lawyer said this incident was a “chance encounter.” Miu was described as being an engineer who designs cooling systems.
Miu is being held at the St. Croix County jail. Bail was set at $1 million, which was double the amount requested by prosecutors..
The names of the victims have not yet been released, but one of the victims has posted her story on social media.
Anyone with information, including video, are asked to call Investigator John Shilts at 715-381-4219 or emailing [email protected].